Currently ranked third on the WQS (May '09) as America’s highest rated surfer, Huntington Beach's Brett Simpson is sitting pretty – once again poised for qualification. We caught up with Brett after the NIKE 6.0 Lowers event, a 6-Star prime.
Things are going great for you Brett, sitting third on the WQS, the top North American surfer, you must be pleased with your start.
Yeah I'm definitely pleased. I've been on the tour for a few years now and this is definitely my best start for sure. It is something I'm trying g to build upon. It's a bummer Lowers wasn't a little better, there are plenty of events left, and I'm just trying to take it one heat at a time. And just go for it.
Brett, as you know, last year both Austin Ware and Pat Gudauskas started off strong and as the year wore on, surfers and vital 'QS points started to pass them by. They faded. That has to be in the back of your mind.
It's no sprint. You can't get too comfortable. There might have been times when those guys maybe got too comfortable. I don't know. You want to make sure you consolidate as many points as you can. At the end of the year all those points, those 500, those 600 points, they add up.
You've going at the WCT via the 'QS for a few years now, and you've been relatively close. I look back at guys like Fred Patacchia and Bobby Martinez, those guys grinded for a few years and it probably helped them once they got onto the WCT. Now they are poised and ready. Do you see yourself setting up on a similar path?
Yeah, I think if I qualified a year or two ago I'd definitely be struggling against the top guys. I feel like my surfing has matured a lot, my competition game is getting better. It is one of things where I feel like it is going to happen when the time is right.
Last year in Hawaii you were in a heat against Sunny Garcia at Haleiwa that seemed to crystallize that maturity. You waited, you were patient, and you scored a beautiful wave, a 9.17 or something, against one of Hawaii's top competitors.
Yeah, that heat was frustrating for me at one point. Sunny kept getting waves around us, and underneath us, I said, 'screw it, I'm just going to wait.' That wave came to me after Sunny took that first wave. It was one of those days were I think Sunny thought it was kind of slow and he was going to get his wave count up. He took the first one and the second one rolled right to me.
Well you have Ian Cairns coaching you now, how is that relationship working out?
It's been great. I try to work with him during big events or legs of the tour. We just try to pick a similar wave here at home to what I will be surfing on the road. We set up a strategy based on the wav the tides four man heats, staying busy. For Margaret River, that's where Ian is from, he came over and I never really knew how to ride that wave– it really payed off having Ian there.
When he is not physically at the events does it detract from your performance. Is there a comfort factor having your coach with you?
I think there is. I definitely feel like I don't second guess myself if Ian is there. That's something I have to work on, get more comfortable with applying the plan and strategy and sticking with it.
The WCT event at Lowers is coming up in September, it looks good for you to get a wildcard at that event.
Last year I had an alright go. I got through one heat and then met up with Taj. I actually had an okay heat against Taj, just came up a bit short. Rob (Machado) seems to be sort of hot or cold whether or not he is into the competition or not-whether he wants to do it or not. Hurley also has some young kids like Kai Barger that they are stoked on.
Just buy Brandon over there at Hurley a few lunches and a six-pack you should be good for Lowers.
(Laughs) Yeah too easy. That sounds good.
Well we want to see you qualify Brett, best of luck to you.
Thanks a lot. I appreciate your support.